G.A. Aksyanova. Principal Findings of the 20th-Century Population Studies in Tuva
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Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology
of Eurasia

37 (4) 2009




Principal Findings of the 20th-Century Population Studies in Tuva

G.A. Aksyanova.

The population of Tuva, a mountain country in Southern Siberia, has been subjected to detailed studies by Russian physical anthropologists. Publications cite the results of the comparative analyses of the Tuvans based on all trait systems from skeletal to genetic. Anthropometrically, at least two trait combinations were described, falling within the same Northern Asian Mongoloid complex: the predominant Sayan variant of the Eastern Central Asian combination, which is especially characteristic of the steppe populations, and the Katanga (or Sayan-Yenisei, according to Levin) variant of the Baikal combination, observed in the Eastern (Todzha) Tuvans and in their neighbors, the Tofalars. Both variants, demonstrating the complex origins of the Tuvans, merge into a single combination distinguishing the Tuvans from other groups. The biological heterogeneity in the Tuvans is higher than that in the Khalkha Mongols who are closest to the Southern Tuvans. The Southwestern Tuvans reveal a slight Caucasoid (possibly southern Caucasoid) tendency. Morpho-physiologically, the Tuvans appear to be adapted to both the arid zone and the cold continental climate.

Keywords: Tuvans, Todzha, anthropometry, population history, Northern Asian Mongoloids, Central Asian trait combination, Katanga trait combination.